“Henry Clay Tompkins was born in Essex Co., VA. Sep. 14, 1842. He was educated at the schools and Academies of Virginia. Early in 1862 he entered the Confederate service, enlisting in the 44th Virginia cavalry as a private. He remained a private until March, 1864, when he joined the 22nd Virginia infantry, with the rank of Lieutenant, commanding Company F. Henry was captured at Sailors’ Creek just before the surrender at Appomattox. Returning home, he engaged in saw milling and farming, and continued so employed until the fall of 1886, when he removed to Montgomery Co., Alabama.
He taught a neighborhood school in the southeastern portion of the county for two years, devoting his spare time to the study of the law. He was admitted to the bar in Feb. 1869, at Union Springs, in Bullock Co. where he began his practice. He advanced steadily, aiding materially by extra professional labor as Chairman of the Democratic County Executive Committee in redeeming his county from the scalawags and carpet baggers. While living at Union Springs, he was elected lieutenant-colonel of the 2nd regiment of Alabama State troops, which position he held for several years. In 1878, he received the distinguished compliment of a nomination to the office of Attorney-General of the state, and was elected. He was re-elected for two additional terms. The acceptance of this office compelled him to remove to Montgomery, and he formed there a partnership with COL. Daniel S. Troy one of the ablest and best known practitioners in the state. The firm, during its continuance, did a very large and paying business. On the retirement of COL. Troy from business, the firm became Tompkins and Troy, the junior member being Mr. Alexander Troy. He was, for many years, a member of the State Executive Committee of the Democratic Party, and in 1886, he was elected Chairman of that Committee, in which position he continued until the spring of 1892 when he resigned. He was a delegate-at large to the National Convention of the Democracy in 1884 and 1888 and in each convention served on important committees. COL. Tompkins had been repeatedly mentioned for the US Senate, and he was singularly well equipped for that high post.
COL. Tompkins was married, in April, 1869 to Annie Baldwin, daughter of Marion Baldwin, Attorney-General of Alabama for 18 years. They have two children, a girl and a boy. COL. Tompkins’s father was Joseph Temple Tompkins, who was born in King County, Va. April 7, 1792. He was a farmer and a soldier in the War of 1812. COL. Tompkins’s mother’s maiden name was Jane Ford, a native of Fredericksburg, Va. His grandfather was Christopher Tompkins, a Virginian, a Captain in the Continental Army and a participant in the siege of Yorktown. COL. Tompkins’s ancestors on his father’s side came to America from England in the 17th century; those on his mother’s side are of Scotch and English stock.
Henry Clay Tompkins died suddenly at his office Sept. 12th, 1898.”